by Simone St. James
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
Publisher: NAL / New American Library
Boy howdy can St. James write a ghost story! I love this book; I woke up at 6.30 this morning and did nothing until I finished it and then I re-read a few passages just to make it last longer.
In 1920’s England, Oxford student Jillian Leigh’s uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, and she must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings.
Almost immediately, unsettling incidents—a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own—escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost who haunts Blood Moon Bay? Was Toby’s death an accident?
The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers. Even as she suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth, she begins to discover spine-chilling secrets that lie deep within Rothewell…
If you’re a horror or psychological horror lover, pass this review right on by; this book is a cream puff in comparison to your regular fare, but for the rest of us, this is truly an old-school, spooky ghost story with a mystery and a romance (oh the romance…). There’s nothing gothic about the story, but I keep thinking of the old gothics anyway, for lack of any better comparison.
I probably should have gone 4.5 stars because Jillian goes through an improbable – neigh, impossible – number of physical calamities to still be standing upright. Or breathing, really. But the story was just so good; I was sucked in so thoroughly that I was willing to overlook her superhuman regenerative powers. Inspector Merriken was incentive enough to spur on a rapid recovery.
Ok, anything else I say beyond this point would just be repetitive gushing. I loved this book; it gave me exactly the experience I hope for every time I start a new story and I’ll be looking for more of this author’s work.